Five New EA Charities with High Potential for Impact 2020-10-14T12:15:26.666Z · score: 122 (62 votes)
Announcement: applications for the 2020 Charity Entrepreneurship Incubation Program are now open! 2020-03-18T13:11:39.766Z · score: 35 (12 votes)
Comparing Four Cause Areas for Founding New Charities 2020-01-24T12:58:18.590Z · score: 39 (24 votes)
Announcement: early applications for Charity Entrepreneurship’s 2020 Incubation Program are now open! 2019-12-16T09:32:52.037Z · score: 71 (30 votes)
Cause X Guide 2019-09-01T16:58:18.691Z · score: 76 (40 votes)
A guide to improving your odds at getting a job in EA 2019-03-19T13:11:59.494Z · score: 23 (27 votes)
Why we look at the limiting factor instead of the problem scale 2019-01-28T19:12:34.114Z · score: 61 (36 votes)
The Importance of Time Capping 2018-12-28T17:02:41.207Z · score: 45 (38 votes)
Which animals need the most help from the animal advocacy movement? 2018-12-04T20:29:07.454Z · score: 52 (21 votes)
High welfare meat - CE ask report 2018-11-22T17:12:14.573Z · score: 12 (6 votes)
Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. 2018-09-17T23:55:51.869Z · score: 49 (29 votes)
How to make an impact in animal advocacy, a survey. 2018-08-27T00:42:20.437Z · score: 33 (27 votes)
Problems with EA representativeness and how to solve it 2018-08-03T19:25:02.371Z · score: 57 (59 votes)
Introducing Charity Entrepreneurship: an Incubation and Research Program for New Charities 2018-06-05T23:51:54.705Z · score: 31 (28 votes)
Why EAs in particular are good people to start charities 2018-05-30T20:41:26.915Z · score: 8 (10 votes)
Triple counting impact in EA 2018-05-26T23:00:16.677Z · score: 26 (23 votes)
Why founding charities is one of the highest impact things one can do 2018-05-13T20:13:10.400Z · score: 27 (27 votes)
The Importance of EA Dedication and Why it Should Be Encouraged 2018-05-06T00:39:43.833Z · score: 33 (35 votes)
Empirical data on value drift 2018-04-22T23:31:00.407Z · score: 135 (95 votes)
When to focus and when to re-evaluate 2018-03-24T21:18:03.897Z · score: 46 (37 votes)
Why we should be doing more systematic research 2018-03-14T18:58:52.912Z · score: 31 (26 votes)
How scale is often misused as a metric and how to fix it 2018-01-30T01:36:45.368Z · score: 10 (15 votes)
How to get a new cause into EA 2018-01-10T06:41:47.857Z · score: 34 (33 votes)
Charity Science Health has room for more funding 2017-11-29T23:28:04.498Z · score: 13 (13 votes)
Talent gaps from the perspective of a talent limited organization. 2017-11-03T04:41:28.760Z · score: 20 (22 votes)
Setting our salary based on the world’s average GDP per capita 2017-08-26T19:57:30.492Z · score: 18 (19 votes)
EAs are not perfect utilitarians 2017-01-29T20:31:19.188Z · score: 7 (17 votes)
Charity Science Effective Legacies 2016-12-29T23:18:20.338Z · score: 2 (4 votes)
Charity Science Health receives GiveWell Experimental grant and other updates 2016-11-16T20:28:42.966Z · score: 11 (11 votes)
Effective Legacies have arrived! 2016-06-06T19:04:47.360Z · score: 8 (8 votes)
Starting charities: When to Do it Yourself, Hire, and Inspire? 2016-06-02T00:30:08.809Z · score: 6 (6 votes)
$500 prize for anybody who can change our current top choice of intervention 2016-05-11T02:21:05.849Z · score: 15 (15 votes)
Charity Entrepreneurship Research Summary 2016-03-21T17:47:45.904Z · score: 22 (22 votes)
Charity Science 2.5 Year Internal Review and Plans Going Forward 2016-02-26T16:37:10.089Z · score: 16 (16 votes)
Request for feedback on research process (Charity Entrepreneurship) 2016-01-19T05:20:41.989Z · score: 12 (12 votes)
Donate Your Christmas to GiveWell Charities! 2015-12-10T19:56:58.422Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
New project announcement: Charity Entrepreneurship! 2015-11-28T02:01:31.845Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Boost Your Impact by Matching for the Christmas Fundraiser 2015-10-16T18:34:17.724Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
You Can Now Make Any Event a Fundraiser for Effective Charities 2015-09-12T18:17:19.298Z · score: 12 (12 votes)
Charity Science Updates 2015-08-17T00:11:32.288Z · score: 12 (12 votes)
Charity Science is hiring 2015-07-27T18:38:42.190Z · score: 9 (9 votes)
Charity Science job opening! 2015-04-16T03:00:34.329Z · score: 7 (7 votes)
Comparative Bias 2014-11-05T05:57:04.588Z · score: 5 (7 votes)
Charity Science's first annual review: how effective is fundraising? 2014-10-21T07:45:38.200Z · score: 10 (10 votes)
Meetup : How to Evaluate a Charity Meetup 2014-10-20T21:58:52.957Z · score: 0 (0 votes)


Comment by joey on What is a book that genuinely changed your life for the better? · 2020-10-22T09:45:42.851Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Great question. Keen to see other people’s recommendations. We have a list of some of our team’s favorites organized into categories – can be seen on the website here or below. My personal top 5 are Principles, Made to Stick, The Life You Can Save, Algorithms to Live By, and The Lean Startup.

Charity entrepreneurship

Values and ethics


Making good decisions 



Getting things done



Comment by joey on How have you become more (or less) engaged with EA in the last year? · 2020-10-21T08:47:38.855Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · EA · GW

A few examples:
- Introduction of new cause areas (e.g. mental health, WAS) 
- Debates about key issues (e.g. INT framework issues, flaws of the movement)
- More concrete issues vs philosophical ones (e.g. how important is outreach, what % of EAs should earn to give)

I think the bar I generally compare EA to is, do I learn more from reading the EA forum per minute than from reading a good nonfiction book? Some years this has definitely been true but it has been less true in recent years.

Comment by joey on Making More Sequences · 2020-10-21T08:23:52.121Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · EA · GW

This could be turned into one quite quickly

Comment by joey on Ramiro's Shortform · 2020-09-30T16:09:04.667Z · score: 10 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Ramiro and Thomas,

Thanks for your engagement with this system. I think in general our system has lots of room for improvement - we are in fact working on refining it right now. However, I am pretty strongly in favor of having evaluation systems even if the numbers are not based on all the data we would like them to be or even if they come to surprising results.

Cross species comparison is of course very complex when it comes to welfare. Some factors are fairly easy to measure across species (such as death rates) while others are much more difficult (diseases rates are a good example of where it's hard to find good data for wild animals). I can imagine researchers coming to different conclusions given the same initial data.

It’s worth underlining that our system does not aim to evaluate the moral weight of a given species, but merely to assess a plausible state of welfare. (Thomas: this would be one caveat to add when sharing.) In regards to moral weight (e.g. what moral weight do we accord a honey bee relative to a chicken etc.) – that is not really covered by our system. We included the estimates of probability of consciousness per Open Phil’s and Rethink Priorities’ reports on the subject, but the moral weight of conscious human and non-human animals is a heavily debated topic that the system does not go into. Generally I recommend Rethink Priorities’ work on the subject.

In regards to welfare, I think it's conceptually possible that e.g. a well treated pet dog in a happy family may be happier and their life more positive than a prisoner in a North Korean concentration camp. This may seem unintuitive, but I also find the inverse conclusion unintuitive. As mentioned above, that doesn’t mean that we should be prioritizing our efforts on improving the welfare of pet dogs vs. humans in North Korea. Prioritizing between different species is a complex issue, of which welfare comparisons like this index may form one facet without being the only tool we use.

To cover some of the specific claims.

- Generally, I think there is some confusion here between the species having control vs the individual. For example, North Korea as a country has a very high level of control over their environment, and can shape it dramatically more than a tribe of chimps can. However, each individual in North Korea has extremely limited personal control over their life – often having less free time and less scope for action than a wild chimp would practically (due to the constraints of the political regime) if not theoretically (given humanity’s capabilities as a species).

- We are not evaluating hunter gatherers, but people in an average low-income country. Life satisfaction measures show that in some countries, self-evaluated levels of subjective well-being are low. (Some academics even think that this subjective well-being could be lower than those of hunter gatherer societies.)

- Humanity has indeed spent a great deal more on diagnosing humans than chimps. However, there is some data on health that is comparable, particularly when it comes to issues that are clearer to observe such as physical disability.

- There is in fact some research on hunger and malnutrition in wild chimps, so this was not based on intuitions but on best estimates of primatologists. Malnourishment in chimps can be measured in some similar ways to human malnourishment, e.g. stunting of growth. I do think you’re right that concerns with unsafe drinking water could be factored into the disease category instead of the thirst one.

I would be keen for more research to be done on this topic but I would expect it to take a few hours of research into chimp welfare and a decent amount of research into human welfare to get a stronger sense than our reports currently offer. I think these sorts of issues are worth thinking about and we would like to see more research being done using such a system that aims to evaluate and compare the welfare of different species. Thank you again for engaging with the system - we’ll bear your comments in mind as we work on improvements.

Comment by joey on How have you become more (or less) engaged with EA in the last year? · 2020-09-11T10:42:06.980Z · score: 27 (21 votes) · EA · GW

Equally or more focused on doing good but less involved with the EA movement. Broadly I am less sold that engaging with the EA movement is the best way to increase knowledge or impact. This is due to a bit of an intellectual slowdown in EA, with fewer concepts being generated that connect to impact and a bit of perceived hostility towards near-term causes (which I think are the most impactful).

Comment by joey on 2020 Top Charity Ideas - Charity Entrepreneurship · 2020-08-28T10:20:13.717Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Charles, we don’t prioritize long termist projects as we do not think they are the highest impact (for epistemic not ethical reasons). This view is pretty common in EA, but most people who hold this perspective do not engage much on the EA forum. In the future we might write more on it.

We have recommended meta charities in the past (e.g. animal careers) and expect to recommend more in the future. There are some people considering a long-term/AI focused incubator, so this might be a project that happens at some point.

Comment by joey on Do research organisations make theory of change diagrams? Should they? · 2020-07-22T08:55:18.411Z · score: 12 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Sadly don’t have time to go into much depth on this, but we strongly recommend it to all charities that run through our CE program (including all the research orgs) and create a ToC for each idea we research.

Comment by joey on What should Founders Pledge research? · 2019-09-17T08:59:44.610Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Here are a few different areas that look promising. Some of these are taken from other organizations’ lists of promising areas, but I expect more research on each of them to be high expected value.

  • Donors solely focused on high-income country problems.
    • Mental health research (that could help both high and low income countries).
    • Alcohol control
    • Sugar control
    • Salt control
    • Trans-fats control
    • Air pollution regulation
    • Metascience
    • Medical research
    • Lifestyle changes including "nudges" (e.g. more exercise, shorter commutes, behaviour, education)
    • Mindfulness education
    • Sleep quality improvement
  • Donors focused on animal welfare.
    • Wild animal suffering (non-meta, non-habitat destruction) interventions
    • Animal governmental policy, particularly in locations outside of the USA and EU.
    • Treat disease that affects wild animals
    • Banning live bait fish
    • Transport and slaughter of turkeys
    • Pre-hatch sexing
    • Brexit related preservation of animal policy
  • Donors focused on improving the welfare of the current generation of humans.
    • Pain relief in poor countries
    • Contraceptives
    • Tobacco control
    • Lead paint regulation
    • Road traffic safety
    • Micronutrient fortification and biofortification
    • Sleep quality improvement
    • Immigration reform
    • Mosquito gene drives, advocacy, and research
    • Voluntary male circumcision
    • Research to increase crop yields
Comment by joey on Update on the Vancouver Effective Altruism Community · 2019-05-17T15:30:25.841Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Slight correction: The Charity Entrepreneurship program will be based in London, UK this year.

Comment by joey on A guide to improving your odds at getting a job in EA · 2019-03-21T11:09:55.414Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · EA · GW

When I was writing this, I was mostly comparing it to other highly time consuming activism (e.g. many people are getting a degree hoping it will help them acquire an EA job). In terms of being the optimal thing for EA organizations to look for, I do not really have a view on that. I was more so hoping to level the understanding between people who have a pretty good sense that this sort of information is what you need, and people who might think that this would be worth far less than, say, a degree from a prestigious university.

Comment by joey on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-04T17:58:04.606Z · score: 18 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Ok given multiple people think this is off I have changed it to 3 hours to account for variation in application time.

Comment by joey on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-04T14:35:54.670Z · score: 8 (2 votes) · EA · GW

My sense is they already had a CV that required very minimal customization and spent almost all the time on the cover letter.

Comment by joey on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-02T15:35:13.931Z · score: 13 (6 votes) · EA · GW

It came from asking ~4 successful employees who where hired

Comment by joey on After one year of applying for EA jobs: It is really, really hard to get hired by an EA organisation · 2019-03-02T10:42:03.245Z · score: 26 (10 votes) · EA · GW

The following is a rough breakdown of the percentage of people who were not asked to move on to the next round in the Charity Science hiring process. These numbers assume one counterfactual hour of preparation for each interview and no preparation time outside of the given time limit for test tasks.

~3* hour invested (50%) - Cover letter/resume
~5 hours invested (20%) - Interview 1
~10 hours invested (15%) - Test task 1
~12 hours invested (5%) - Interview 2
~17 hours invested (5%) - Test task 2
~337 hours invested (2.5%) - paid 2-month work trial
Hired (2.5%)

So, 95% of those not hired spend 17 hours or less, 85% spend 14 hours or less, and 70% spend 5 hours or less.

*changed from 1 hour to 3 hours based on comments

Comment by joey on Why we look at the limiting factor instead of the problem scale · 2019-02-02T01:35:15.148Z · score: 8 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Hey Abraham,

The endline goal of any piece of evaluation criteria is to be able to be used to best predict “good done”. I broadly agree that one criteria factor is unlikely to rule in or out an intervention fully (including limiting factor - it was one of four in our system). If we know a criteria that was that powerful there would be no need for complex evaluation.

Although limiting factor is not a pure hard limit I do not think this changes its usefulness much; an intervention might be low evidence, and in theory multiple RCTs could be done to improve this, but in practice if there is say a limiting factor on funding (such that multiple RCTs could not be funded) the intervention might be indefinitely low evidenced even if in theory evidence is not an independent of movement factor. It seems fairly clear that all things being equal running an intervention will be easier than running an equivalent intervention that also requires you to build a field of talent or otherwise work on a limiting factor.

In principle I think this could be put into a more numerical form (e.g. included in CEA), but I think in practice this has not been done. Historically maybe the closest is different levels of funding gaps that Givewell has put for there top charities, but that is mostly considering a single possible limiting factor (funding). I would love to see more models on limiting factor and think it would be a natural next step in the current EA talent vs funding conversations.

A different way to think about this question is do we think problem scale or limiting factor are better predictors of areas where the most good can be done? I pretty strongly disagree that problem scale is more important than the limiting factor that will hit an intervention. Theoretically scale of the problem is a harder limit but that doesn't really matter if in practice an intervention is never capped by it. We ended up looking at quite a number of charities to consider what was stopping them (including GiveWell and ACE recommendations) and none of them seemed to be capped by problem scale, they had all been stopped by other limiting factors far before that became an issue (for example, with AMF it was funding and logistical bottlenecks not the number of people with malaria). I think this is even true for the specific case of wild suffering interventions. The absolute number of bugs does not matter much when considering ethical pest control so much as the density per hectare of field or the available funding for a humane insecticides charity. You could imagine a world where the bug populations of colder locations (such as Canada and Russia) where close to 0 and it would do very little to affect the estimated good done- broadly due to having a ton of work to do in warmer locations before one would expand to Canada and likely hitting many limiting factors before expanding that far. How soon these problems hit would be more predictive of impact than if there were twice or half as many bugs in the world as there are now.

I think historical evidence like “if this was not done X would not never have happened” is not a very strong argument unless some research is done systematically and compares both the hits and misses that occured (e.g. there where a lot of issues that were attempted to be founded but never got traction at that same point in time). To take a more clear example you could look a friend who won the lottery, and although clearly he benefited from his ticket it still would have been the wrong call from an expected value perspective to buy it, and certainly would not suggest you should buy a lottery ticket we have to be careful of survivorship bias. Mainly we are looking at factors that are predictive of something having the most impact and singular examples do not describe much about field building vs making quicker progress on a more established field. Although I would be really interested in more systematic research in this area.

Comment by joey on Why we look at the limiting factor instead of the problem scale · 2019-01-30T23:16:16.867Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Good idea, I added CE to the first use of "we".

Comment by Joey on [deleted post] 2019-01-17T22:11:01.718Z

Comment by joey on Cause profile: mental health · 2018-12-31T22:30:54.369Z · score: 38 (21 votes) · EA · GW

Really interesting post, but I do want to flag a big concern I have in the comparative calculation. Broadly, estimated effects are almost always just going to be way more positive than well studied effects. For example if you estimated GD’s impact using standard income vs happiness adjustment measures (e.g. the value of double someone's income on their happiness) you end up at a much higher number than the RCT results. I think this sort of thing happens pretty consistently and predictability. For example, it would be really easy to imagine Strong Minds treatments are different enough from the most studied ways of doing CBT for the treatment effects to only persist 1 year (which would reduce the cost-effectiveness to about equal), and it's easy to imagine several such changes (almost all going in a more pessimistic direction).

On the flip side, there has been extensive research, evaluation and huge numbers of charities founded in the global health space leading to a comparatively very small number of super strong charities, many of which are explicitly focused on cost-effectiveness/impact, etc. This same work (as far as I know) has not been done in the mental health area. In many ways, you are comparing a very strong global poverty charity to a much more average mental health charity. Thus personally I would not necessarily need to see a current mental health charity beating GiveWell’s best to be convinced the area as a whole could be very effective (if some strong research, evaluations and impact focused charities) were founded or identified in the area. Given my current work with Charity Entrepreneurship, the main case I am considering is if a new well researched and impact focused charity in mental health could be competitive with GiveWell top charities in effectiveness. I feel like the posts you have made over time have made this claim seem pretty plausible.

Comment by joey on Quality of life of farm animals · 2018-12-14T19:29:15.656Z · score: 14 (8 votes) · EA · GW

Our team has fairly recently done pretty similar work to what you are describing. You can see it here

Comment by joey on From humans in Canada to battery caged chickens in the United States, which animals have the hardest lives: results · 2018-12-07T19:33:58.811Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · EA · GW

When we looked at larger groups like fish or bugs we looked for species that were a) more studied and b) more populous. For example, for bugs this tended to be ants, bees, flies, and beetles. Overall though we tried to get a score that we felt would be consistent with “a random unknown bug is killed by an insecticide. What was the welfare score of that bug?”

We only set aside enough time to cover a certain number of animals, and we did not think looking at most regional differences was as important as covering more animals. We will be releasing a table with some specific welfare changes (e.g. animals raised without any physical alterations) which will shed a bit of light on some regional differences. That being said, I expect the broadest level conclusions (e.g. prioritizing fish) to hold across different locations.

Thanks. It indeed looks like that was taken from a report on the breeders.

Comment by joey on Which animals need the most help from the animal advocacy movement? · 2018-12-07T19:32:15.273Z · score: 9 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Wild rat indeed includes rats that live in cities and apartments (as long as they are not domesticated/pet rats). We definitely considered causes of death by humans (which for rats was quite a sizable percentage of their deaths) and our next report is in fact on ethical pest control, including possibilities like more ethical rodenticides and legal changes to move people from sticky to snap traps.

Comment by joey on Which animals need the most help from the animal advocacy movement? · 2018-12-05T20:50:37.280Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · EA · GW

So on #1, there have been some discussions of this but out team was not convinced of the arguments enough to include a factor involving it into our analysis. You can see more here and on the links at the bottom of that post. It would change things quite a bit. We have not done the calculation but off the top of my head I would expect it would impact insects most significantly with other animals moving up or down a category e.g. cows might move to mid but I would not expect them to move to high.

Comment by joey on Which animals need the most help from the animal advocacy movement? · 2018-12-05T20:50:14.866Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · EA · GW

On #2, indeed our research is mostly focused around which charities should be founded in the animal space. That being said, I do think it cross applies. For example, I would far prefer someone to eat beef and give up chicken than the opposite. For giving up different food categories I think it would go something like Fish > Chicken > Eggs > Pork > Beef > Milk > Cheese in order of importance based on both the animal welfare and the amount of animals it takes to form a meal (e.g. 1 chicken or 0.01 cows).

Comment by joey on From humans in Canada to battery caged chickens in the United States, which animals have the hardest lives: results · 2018-11-29T05:23:01.794Z · score: 9 (7 votes) · EA · GW


In terms of other animals that could be quite net positive, large herbivores and predators at the top of their food chain with relative abundance of food (e.g. elephants, moose, whales and dolphins) would be my guess, but we did not go deep into any of those animals. Some domestic animals (e.g. well treated dogs and cats) also seem plausible to have pretty net positive lives.

Comment by joey on How to make an impact in animal advocacy, a survey. · 2018-11-06T21:14:28.078Z · score: 1 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Sadly I was pretty specific with what data I was going to publish and this is it. I suspect that identities of some people could be determined with the full raw data so can understand why people would not want it published.

Comment by joey on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-10-01T17:01:50.362Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Re:biological markers, the ideal situation would be multiple markers in both the animal in an ideal life vs their current life vs a perfectly unideal life, then scores would be given based on how their current life compares. In practice, sometimes we have found data on a happy life vs a standard life for an animal and can get some sense of how far away these are from each other, but often we have found no applicable data at all for this section. Our reports are very time capped (5 hours or less depending on the importance of the animal), so we do not dive deep into the mechanisms.

Humans from different situations will be ranked as well. I agree having them as a comparative measure for cross-species comparison allows for much easier intuition checks.

Comment by joey on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-09-18T17:22:38.023Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · EA · GW

Examples coming soon. We are currently aiming to have ~15 done and published by 10/7/18. Our full goal of this project is to create a consistent systematic baseline to quantify the benefits of various interventions which would then allows us to compare specific charity ideas and rank what might be the best few to found within the animal movement. is the closest thing to calculating the value of going vegetarian that I know.

Comment by joey on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-09-18T17:22:23.087Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · EA · GW

Yes indeed, that is the next step. We plan on applying this system to ~15 animal situations and doing a 1-5 hour report on each. This would be both for different animals (e.g. wild rat and factory farmed cows) and different welfare situations for the same animal (e.g. a report each for battery caged laying hens vs enriched cage laying hens)

On biological markers specifically, from the research we have done so far, it's very hard to find any consistent biological markers, not to mention situations where we have a bunch that we can cross compare on the same animal. Generally a good score might look like “some cortisol tests have been done on rats in an ideal living situation vs wild rats and the cortisol levels are about the same” where if the same study was done but the cortisol levels were much higher in the wild rats, that would be an indication of lower wild rat welfare.

Comment by joey on Is it better to be a wild rat or a factory farmed cow? A systematic method for comparing animal welfare. · 2018-09-18T17:22:09.156Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Thanks. Fixed.

Comment by joey on How to make an impact in animal advocacy, a survey. · 2018-09-03T16:32:30.155Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

Self-identification and stated values. e.g. some people I spoke for said they were and EA/read Singer etc, others mentioned rights-focused ethics.

Comment by joey on How to make an impact in animal advocacy, a survey. · 2018-08-27T18:09:28.565Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I have changed the word "rights" to "advocacy" to better reflect the content of the post. The survey was not targeted at rights or welfare particularly. It was just getting a sense of the broad EA animal space.

Comment by joey on CEA on community building, representativeness, and the EA Summit · 2018-08-15T20:48:21.869Z · score: 19 (19 votes) · EA · GW

Just wanted to chip in on this. Although I do not think this addresses all the concerns I have with representativeness, I do think CEA has been making a more concerted and genuine effort at considering how to deal with these issues (not just this blog post, but also in some of the more recent conversations they have been having with a wider range of people in the EA movement). I think it's a tricky issue to get right (how to build a cause neutral EA movement when you think some causes are higher impact than others) and there is still a lot of thought to be done on the issue, but I am glad steps are happening in the right direction.

Comment by joey on Problems with EA representativeness and how to solve it · 2018-08-03T22:38:55.624Z · score: 14 (16 votes) · EA · GW

So my personal experience starting a chapter was a long time ago, but what I have heard from people more involved in chapters currently is that there has been social pressure towards focusing on certain cause areas and funding pressure along with it. For example, a sense that chapters are much more likely to get funding, attention, etc, from movement building organizations if they are more far future focused. I think chapters can of course run without any support of any major organization, but the culture of chapters will change if support is more conditional over the long term. As far as I know, no one has been specifically told not to run a chapter based on a different cause focus and I agree this is not the reason most groups start (but it can be a big difference in which groups grow).

Tightly controlled also is in reference to what competing chapter building / movement building organizations would go through to work in the space. For example, the recent post on Leverage is explicitly aimed at caution towards a conference being run under a different organization. I have heard from other organizations about similar frustrations and coordination problems when trying to work in the outreach space.

Comment by joey on Introducing Charity Entrepreneurship: an Incubation and Research Program for New Charities · 2018-06-25T18:14:17.296Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

It is possible we will focus on this in one of our future years.

Comment by joey on Introducing Charity Entrepreneurship: an Incubation and Research Program for New Charities · 2018-06-25T18:14:03.560Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

Hey sorry for the slow response on this. I was waiting for some information to be published. I think my estimate would have been much lower before Charity Science Health and Fortify Health both becoming GiveWell incubated. Fortify Health in particular, I think is fairly representative of the program I plan on running, although the future program will likely provide more support than what I was able to give to their team.

Comment by joey on Introducing Charity Entrepreneurship: an Incubation and Research Program for New Charities · 2018-06-06T19:14:02.779Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

6 people will be involved in starting a charity, possibly the same one(s)

Comment by joey on Introducing Charity Entrepreneurship: an Incubation and Research Program for New Charities · 2018-06-06T19:08:47.246Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

I would guess a lot of this depends on the number of people you take on. (e.g. if we took 20 people I do not expect we would get 2-6 effective charities.) I also would guess the odds of effective charities being founded if it was not picked from our pre-researched list would be much lower, something closer to 1/10 - 1/20.

Our estimates are mostly based on our experience with charities we have founded/supported in a pretty similar way to the above. I also am unsure how to generalize from for-profit to nonprofit space. I generally think the former is much more competitive.

Comment by joey on Introducing Charity Entrepreneurship: an Incubation and Research Program for New Charities · 2018-06-06T17:42:31.786Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I expect ~10 people to attend the camp although I do not expect 100% of them will start charities (I would guess ~60% would). Out of charities founded I expect about 50% of them would be GiveWell incubation/ACE recommended. Although it would depend on the year and focus.

Comment by joey on Why EAs in particular are good people to start charities · 2018-05-31T17:45:44.992Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

1) I hope to publish a post soon specifically going into the help I gave fortify health and what help I can give future charities, but I can clarify briefly here. Charity Science Health - I was on the research team to pick the intervention + cofounded + worked full time in a co-ED position for the first 2 years of its existence. Effectively I was involved as much as one could be in a charity. Fortify Health - I was on the research team to pick the intervention + connected the co-founders when one reached out to me + Gave them a seed grant for their first 6 months + helped them in a consulting role ~5 hours a week over those 6 months. Effectively I was like a highly involved board member.

2) I think this is a huge concern, I generally think EA charities should be aiming to be the highest impact charity in a given field. E.g. a lot of the value of CSH comes from the small chance we can be higher impact than AMF. If CSH for example fell between the effectiveness of GD and AMF, CSH would pretty aggressively try to seek funding outside of the EA community (including GW/OPP). This partly to do with “the last dollar spent” in poverty likely being pretty high impact (see this post on talent gaps for more details). In something like AR, given the funding situation I think the more important consideration would be whether a new charity has a good chance of beating the bottom 25% of charities funded by OPP/ACE.

Comment by joey on Employee Giving incentives: A shared database... relevant for EA job-seekers and activists · 2018-05-19T18:01:54.603Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I have written about this topic before

Personally, what I would find most useful is an up to date spreadsheet list that is sortable by how much the company matches donations (this seems to be the most significant thing companies do on the charity front), so that when I am talking to a job seeker I can send them it and they can easily see what companies offer say 10k+ of matching. You can see from my post in 2013 quite a few offer that or more.

On the broader note of building an evidence based fundraising wiki, is the plan for it to be publicly available and widely shared or more aimed at just the EA community?

Comment by joey on Against prediction markets · 2018-05-14T05:20:20.778Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

A way to frame this question is how do we get the best predictions per least amount of effort, with different strategies having different levels of effort/accuracy of output. A strategy would be considered dominated if a different strategy required both less effort and gave better accuracy. I think a pretty good case can be made for “teams of forecasters working together with their results extremized” cleary requiring less effort and being possibly more accurate or in the same ballpark as prediction markets. If that is the case, I think the argument for setting up/using prediction markets is greatly weakened. It seems like if someone did systematic research into the highest value/least resource consumption predictions, prediction markets would not score at the top of many overall rankings given its high cost. Also some evidence about the high resource cost might be that EAs, although quite excited, driven and intelligent, cannot get a prediction market going with more than a few bets on a given question.

Comment by joey on Why founding charities is one of the highest impact things one can do · 2018-05-14T05:19:01.765Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Would be keen to hear your story as I am working to develop better models around what makes projects have success (particularly nonprofits, but I think all data can be helpful).

1) I think this is fair. I have another post in the works on something along these lines. Super long story short though, a lot of the failures are small projects or at an earlier stage vs more like full scale charities. I think that is a problem/concern in its own right, and I think a pretty good case can be made that established charities should be shut down and considered failures more often.

2) I do think a case can be made that second charities are easier to start than first ones (although I would put Fortify Health as quite distinctive from CSH, as my involvement was quite modest in terms of hours). I still think however, there are lots of examples of first time successes.

3) My understanding of AMF from talking to them is that when making the decision that eventually lead to them choosing bednets, Rob M considered that it had to be 1) really big problems 2) really need help 3) might be fixable, as well as some other connected criteria like not tons of other people working on it. From my understanding, quite a few different interventions were considered (e.g. TB, freshwater, landmines). I do not get the sense it was like GiveWell-style shallow reports, but the concept of doing more good was definitely a big part of the decision making.

Comment by joey on Against prediction markets · 2018-05-13T21:38:26.588Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I have had a lot of EAs say this to me in person as well.

Comment by joey on Concrete Ways to Reduce Risks of Value Drift and Lifestyle Drift · 2018-05-07T15:18:04.745Z · score: 13 (5 votes) · EA · GW

Personally, if I were to simplify this post down to top 2 pieces of advice 1) focus on doing good now 2) surround yourself with people who will keep encouraging you to do good long term.

Comment by joey on Concrete Ways to Reduce Risks of Value Drift and Lifestyle Drift · 2018-05-06T18:11:43.385Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · EA · GW

Say a person could check a box and commit to being vegan for the rest of their lives, do you think that would be a ethical/good thing for someone to do? Given what we know about average recidivism in vegans?

Comment by joey on The Importance of EA Dedication and Why it Should Be Encouraged · 2018-05-06T18:11:33.548Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · EA · GW

"I’m also personally very disappointed by that since high dedication felt like a major asset I could bring to EA. Now I feel more like it doesn’t matter which is discouraging." It’s still very helpful to other dedicated people to know people like you :)

The main movement I am comparing EA to is its younger self, but I think the AR movement also came to mind a lot while writing this post.

I agree that age seems to play a pretty noticeable role, with older movements being wiser but less energetic. I think there might just be some biological mechanism at play, but I also think that in many movements people do "what they can get away with". If I can work 30 hours and my organization is still successful, it’s less motivating to work 60 than if that 30 extra hours will be the make more break. Wisdom gives me more ability to slack on energeticness.

Comment by joey on The Importance of EA Dedication and Why it Should Be Encouraged · 2018-05-06T18:10:43.605Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · EA · GW

I think living in an EA city is one of the strongest cases for spending more money in terms of increasing impact per $ spent. I think it’s the more marginal stuff I am generally careful about (e.g. eating at restaurants).

Comment by joey on The Importance of EA Dedication and Why it Should Be Encouraged · 2018-05-06T05:48:12.853Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · EA · GW

So I am not sure the focus on total output per person vs financial stinginess is so clear. To stick with the Open Phil example, it's not just the max they are willing to fund, it’s the counterfactual of their last donated dollar. For example, if one AR charity takes say x2 what it could run off (focusing on output per person vs frugalness) you would have to factor that counterfactual 50% of the donation going to the last charity that Lewis ends up funding with Open Phil (or maybe the last in that given year). In either of those situations the counterfactuals are definitely not 0. For example, say I personally would be 25% more effective if I was paid 50k vs 100k (x2 salary). I would have to assume my project is x4 better than the counterfactual project Lewis donates to otherwise. This could be true for one AR charity vs another, but I would say it's far from obvious and I will also note I would be quite surprised if the personal gains are that high in most cases of increased salaries, but would be super keen on more data on this.

Comment by joey on Empirical data on value drift · 2018-04-26T17:08:25.184Z · score: 5 (4 votes) · EA · GW

I did not break down the data that way when I made it, but a quick look would suggest ~75% moved from 50% to 10% and drifting was mildly concentrated at the beginning.

Comment by joey on Empirical data on value drift · 2018-04-24T21:59:41.058Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · EA · GW

I agree regarding implementation difficulties, particularly long term ones (e.g. losing a visa for a place you were living in with a big EA community) can muddy the waters a lot. It's hard to get into the details, but I would generally consider someone not drifted if it was a clearly capacity affecting thing (e.g. they got carpal tunnel) but outside of that they are working on the same projects they would have wanted to in all cases.

A more nuanced view might be break it down into: “Value change away from EA” - defined as changing fundamental ethical views, maybe changing to valuing people within your country more than outside of it.. “Action change away from EA” - defined as changing one of the fundamental applications of your still similarly held values. Maybe you think being veg is good, but you are no longer veg due to moving to a different, less conducive living situation.

With short and long term versions of both and with it being pretty likely that “value change” would lead to “action change” over time, I used value drift as a catch-all for both the above. It’s also how I have heard it commonly used as, but I am open to changing the term to be more descriptive.

“As the EA community we should treat people sharing goals and values of EA but finding it hard to act towards implementing them very differently to people simply not sharing our goals and values anymore. Those groups require different responses.”

I strongly agree. These seem to be very different groups. I also think you could even break it down further into “EAs who rationalize doing a bad thing as the most ethical thing” and “EAs who accept as humans that they have multiple drives they need to trade off between”. Most of my suggestions in the post are aimed at actions one could take now that reduce both “action change” and “value change”. Once someone has changed I am less sure about what the way forward is, but I think that could warrant more EA thought (e.g. how to re-engage someone who was disconnected for logistical reasons).

On ii)

Sorry to hear you have had trouble with the EA community and children. I think it's one of the life changes that is generally updated too strongly on by EAs and assuming that a person (of any gender) will definitely value drift upon having children is clearly incorrect. Personally I have found the EAs who I have spoken to who have kids to be unusually reflective about its effects on them compared to other similar life changes, perhaps because it has been more talked about in EA than say partner choice or moving cities. When a couple who plans to have kids has kids and changes their life around that in standard/expected ways, I do not see that as a value drift from their previous state (of planning to have kids and planning to have life changes around that).

I also think people will run into problems pretty quickly if they assume that every time someone goes through a life change that the person will change radically and become less EA. I think I see it intuitively as more of a bayesian prior. If someone has been involved in EA for a week and then they are not involved for 2 weeks, it might be sane to consider the possibilities of them not coming back. On the flip side, if an EA has been involved for years and was not involved for 2 weeks, people would think nothing of it. The same holds true for large life changes. It’s more about the person's pattern of long term of behavior and a combined “overall” perspective.

My list of concerns about a new trend of EA’s “relaying information about opportunities only informally” is so long it will have to be reserved for a whole other blog post.